Barclaycard: consumer spending rises 5.1% as World Cup fever takes hold

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Data from Barclaycard, which sees nearly half of the nation’s credit and debit card transactions, shows that non-essential spending grew 5.5%, its best performance since October 2016.

This was driven by a particularly strong month for entertainment which hit 11.3%, the largest increase since July last year. As consumers demonstrated their continued willingness to spend on experiences, cinema and tickets soared to 20% growth, while restaurants saw an increase of 9.7%.

Boosted by the kick-off of the World Cup, pub expenditure grew 9.5% overall in June – and spending increased 33% on the day of the first England match compared to the same day a week prior. This contributed to entertainment spend rising 10% week-on-week in the first seven days of the football.

Essential spending, meanwhile, settled to a 3.2% increase. Higher prices at the pump led to a strong rise in petrol (9.3%), which made up for supermarket growth dropping to the lowest level for 15 months (0.8%) – albeit against a strong figure from June 2017 (6.0%).

This year’s unseasonably warm weather – which continued with heatwaves at the start and end of June – proved positive for garden centres, which saw a rise of 10.5% last month. What’s more, of the one in three Brits (33%) who have spent more than normal so far this summer, almost three in ten (28%) say it’s because they were planning more activities to make the most of the hot weather.

Overall the sunshine seems to have prompted consumers to become more optimistic as 65% now feel confident in their household finances – the highest proportion in twelve months.

In fact, shoppers are looking to harness this spending power and take positive action to strengthen their local communities. Following the recent news of store closures across the country, 42% of Brits say they want to do something to support their high street. One in five (21%) will try to visit more independent shops to back local businesses and a similar proportion (19%) plan to buy items in-store rather than online.

Looking ahead, however, Brits remain somewhat cautious with four in ten (42%) stating they will hold off on buying big-ticket items until the economy seems more settled.

Esme Harwood, director at Barclaycard, said:

“Consumer spending maintained its strong growth in June for the second month in a row. As the warm weather continues and World Cup fever sets in, it’s clear many households are prioritising fun in the sun while making the most of the summer’s best experiences.

“While some lingering caution remains, confidence in household finances is at a 12-month high. This may be good news for retailers, especially as many shoppers are keen to use their spending power to help their local high street.”